News

Fish Passage Initiatives in 2021 at Okanagan Lake Dam in Penticton

June 30th, 2021

BACKGROUND/HISTORY:

  • In 1997, the Syilx Community expressed serious concerns about the potential extinction of the Okanagan Sockeye population. At that time, returning Sockeye spawners had been reduced to a few thousand upstream of Osoyoos Lake.
  • The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) has led Sockeye fry out-planting projects at Skaha and Okanagan lakes as part of a broader set of initiatives supported by the three party (ONA, DFO, BC-FLNRORD) Canadian Okanagan Basin Technical Working Group (COBTWG) to restore Okanagan salmon populations within their historic range.
  • Introductions of Sockeye Salmon within the Okanagan Basin began with the first capture of wild adults for hatchery brood stock in fall of 2003 followed by introductions of hatchery fry into Skaha Lake in most years since 2004.
  • The first major introduction of hatchery-origin Sockeye fry (750,000) into Okanagan Lake occurred in spring 2017.
  • Hatchery-origin adult Sockeye Salmon originating from the spring 2017 introduction returned in small numbers (a few hundred) as adults aggregating below Okanagan Lake Dam in Penticton in 2019. A large spawning run (25,000+) returned in 2020, and a significant number of adult returns are expected in 2021-2022.
  • The Okanagan Lake Dam at Penticton is a barrier to fish passage. The current dam was constructed in 1953 and included a fish-way. However, except for a brief trial period in 2019 and a longer trial in 2020, the fish-way has never been operated. The effectiveness of the fish- way in supporting adult fish passage at varying flows remains unknown.

    GOAL:

  • A controlled, trial operation of the fish-way in the Okanagan Lake Dam was achieved in the fall of 2020. In 2021, the trial will be repeated given the expected return of similar or slightly lower numbers of adult Sockeye as in 2020.

The kł cp̓əlk̓ stim̓ Hatchery, owned by ONA and located on Penticton Indian Reserve, was
constructed in 2013-2014. Full operation started in the Fall 2014, with the first fry release
from kł cp̓əlk̓ stim̓ into Skaha Lake occuring in the Spring of 2015.

APPROACH:

  • A step-wise approach has been initiated to provide fish passage at Okanagan Lake Dam. The Fish Passage Team/ COBTWG approved the project in 2019.
  • Investigation of Okanagan Lake Dam fish passage options and testing of the fish-way began in 2019 and continued in 2020. Activities proposed for 2021 include: (1) activation of the fish- way to test whether salmonids, including adult salmon, can effectively navigate the ladder and access Okanagan Lake; (2) installation of a trap at the lake-side of the fish-way to control the number and species of fish entering Okanagan Lake; and (3) tagging of 100 (including 50- 60 telemetry-tagged) adult Sockeye salmon for release into Okanagan Lake. Tagged fish will be monitored and provide information on spawning-site selection, spawn-timing, and interactions with resident stocks. All adult, hatchery-origin Sockeye salmon that are surplus to both brood stock or monitoring needs will support food, social and cultural (FSC) harvest by ONA member nations.
  • The approximate timeline for fishway activation and Sockeye tagging is mid-September until mid-October, 2021
  • This controlled approach minimizes biological risk to aquatic ecosystems, and provides Provincial, Federal and ONA fisheries staff with data that will inform future management decisions regarding potential impacts to or opportunites for recreational fisheries. Information garnered from fish-passage trials will also inform dam-management and fishway operations by Okanagan Lake Regulation System staff.

    PROGRAM CONTACTS:

    Ryan Benson, Fisheries Biologist Okanagan Nation Alliance
    Ph: 250-707-0095 ext. 309 Email: rbenson@sylix.org

    Athena Ogden, Aquatic Science Biologist
    Regional Ecosystem Effects on Fish and Fisheries
    Science Branch, Department of Fisheries & Oceans Canada Phone: 250-756-3375
    Email: Athena.Ogden@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

    Tara White, Senior Fisheries Biologist Government of British Columbia Thompson-Okanagan region
    Phone: 778-622-6839

    Email: Tara.White@gov.bc.ca

Fish Passage Initiatives in 2021 at Okanagan Lake Dam in Penticton


Syilx Nation’s For the Children Caravan Unites the Nation and Demands Justice for All the Children Who Never Returned From Indian Residential Schools

June 27th, 2021

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory: On June 26, 2021, a convoy of Syilx leaders, Indian Residential School survivors, their families (intergenerational), elders, members, and youth from across the Nation journeyed from sn’pinktn (Penticton) to the Kamloops Indian Residential School. This caravan is a direct response to the lack of justice in the face of recent discovery of the burial […]

Media Advisory: Syilx Nation’s For the Children Caravan Unites the Nation and Demands Justice for All the Children Who Never Returned From Indian Residential Schools

June 24th, 2021

 tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory: The Syilx Okanagan Nation’s ‘For the Children’ Caravan will start at 9:00 am on June 26, 2021, and will a convoy of Syilx leaders, Indian Residential School survivors, their families (intergenerational), elders, members, and youth from across the Nation journey from sn’pinktn (Penticton) to the Kamloops Indian Residential School. This caravan is a direct […]

Return of sc’win (sockeye) to Syilx Okanagan Territory

June 15th, 2021

Expect sc’win (sockeye) in nk’mip (Osoyoos Lake) within the next 6-9 days, and shortly thereafter, to sxʷ̌  əxʷnitkʷ (Ok Falls)! This year we are expecting a lower-than-average run of sc’win. Therefore, fisheries management recommendations will focus on food fisheries (trolling in Osoyoos Lake and angling at Okanagan Falls). Likelihood of a commercial fishery is very […]

Okanagan Nation’s Spirit of Syilx Unity Run Makes Emotional Journey to Kamloops Indian Residential School to Recognize All Children that Never Returned Home

June 8th, 2021

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory: From June 2-5 Syilx Nation members from across the territory ran out on the land as part of the Spirit of Syilx Unity Run. On Saturday, June 5, 2021, a special component of the run included an in-person event that went from nkm̓apəlqs (Head of the Lake) to the Kamloops Indian Residential School (KIRS) […]

Spirit of Syilx Unity Run – Community Profile

June 5th, 2021

In 2009, Syilx youth had requested a Run to promote unity as well as bring awareness to the issues of suicide and violence within the Nation. From this the Spirit of Syilx Unity Run came to be. The annual run provides the opportunity to experience being out on the territory, being together as a Nation […]

The Spirit of Syilx Unity Run Recognizes All “Survivors”

June 2nd, 2021

The 13th Annual Spirit of Syilx Unity Run starts today June 2, and goes to June 7, 2021. After a small opening circle and prayer to kick off the run, this virtual event will see Syilx youth and members running out on the land in their own pods and communities, aimed at reaching the Kamloops […]

Syilx Okanagan Nation Joins Other Nations Call for Accountability After Remains of 215 Residential School Victims Unearthed at Kamloops Indian Residential School

May 29th, 2021

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory: The Syilx Okanagan Nation are shocked and profoundly saddened by the confirmation of 215 children’s remains found at the Kamloops Indian Residential School on Thursday, May 27, 2021.  Children from across many First Nation’s attended the Kamloops Indian Residential School, and this revelation is felt by every Syilx Okanagan family. This […]

Okanagan River Salmonid Sampling Near You

May 27th, 2021

snpintktn (Penticton), Syilx Okanagan Territory:   Okanagan Nation Alliance Fisheries biologists will be out sampling juvenile salmonids in the Okanagan River off-channel habitats between now and the end of this June. You’ll likely spot biologists in oxbows, side channels, floodplains, and other off-channel habitat along the main river between Okanagan and Osoyoos Lakes. Biologists will be […]

Bringing the Salmon Home Festival May 10-16, 2021

May 4th, 2021

You’re invited! Participate online at ColumbiaRiverSalmon.ca For over 80 years salmon have been blocked by dams from returning to the upper Columbia River in the Kootenay region of British Columbia. The Columbia River was once the source of the greatest salmon runs in the world. Bringing the Salmon Home: The Columbia River Salmon Reintroduction Initiative, […]

Grant to Help Planning to Protect Okanagan Lake

April 28th, 2021

A substantial grant will help with the multi-year collaborative planning effort to protect the environmental and cultural values of Okanagan Lake and its watershed. The Vancouver Foundation is providing $300,000 to the partnership that is developing the Okanagan Lake Responsibility Strategy: Okanagan Nation Alliance Regional District of Central Okanagan Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program South Okanagan […]

Supreme Court of Canada Confirms Aboriginal Rights in Arrow Lakes

April 23rd, 2021

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory: The Chiefs of the Syilx Okanagan Nation welcome today’s decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Desautel, recognizing and protecting Sinixt Aboriginal hunting rights in B.C. Many members of our Syilx Okanagan Nation communities are descendants of Sinixt (sʔalt̕ik̓ʷt) people and we all share common language, culture, history, […]

Congratulations y̓ilmixʷm ki law na Chief Clarence Louie on being named as an Honorary Degree recipient from the University of British Columbia

March 31st, 2021

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Okanagan Territory: It is our Syilx tradition to celebrate the achievements of our people and we would like to celebrate the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) recognition of y̓ilmixʷm ki law na, Clarence Louie, as one of UBC’s 2021 Honorary Degree recipients. Today, we acknowledge and honor ki law na for this […]

Calling All Anglers To Report Catching Northern Pike In The Lower Columbia River

March 26th, 2021

snɬuxwqnm (Castlegar), Syilx Territory: The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) is calling all anglers to support suppression efforts of Northern Pike.  We request that all anglers catching Northern Pike in the nx̌ʷntk’ʷitkʷ (Columbia River), including the Pend d’Oreille, Kootenay, Columbia and Kettle Rivers report these catches to Evan Smith, ONA biologist: esmith@syilx.org, who also has more […]

kł cp̓əlk̓ stim̓ Hatchery Update

January 29th, 2021

Our sc’win (sockeye) alevins are almost all completely hatched. Once they hatch we add plastic rings bio-media (or synthetic media) to their incubation boxes, which mimics silt in the rivers. The newly hatched alevins (yolk sac fry) will burrow themselves into the silt for protection until they have utilized their yolk and can start feeding […]

Okanagan Nation’s ‘Fish in Schools’ Program Educates Participants on Importance of Salmon in the Okanagan

January 18th, 2021

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory: Over the last week the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA), as part of the Fish in Schools (FinS) program, delivered the final round of sc’win (sockeye salmon) eggs or fry to participating schools on Syilx territory. In 2021 six schools from school district 53 (Oliver/Osoyoos/Cawston) will participate in the program. Each of the schools received […]

The Syilx Okanagan Nation Congratulates Ardith Walpetko We’dalx Walkem, Q.C. on Appointment to the British Columbia Supreme Court

December 21st, 2020

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory – December 21, 2020:  The Chiefs of the Syilx Okanagan Nation offer their congratulations to Ardith Walpetko We’dalx Walkem, Q.C. on her appointment as a justice to the British Columbia Supreme Court. Syilx Okanagan Nation Tribal Chair, Chief Clarence Louie provided the following comment, “On behalf of the Syilx Okanagan Nation, I am pleased to […]

OKANAGAN NATION SECURES $500,000 IN FUNDING FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT RESPONSE SERVICES PROGRAM

November 21st, 2020

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory:  The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) is proud to announce the acquisition of nearly $500,000 from the Ending Violence Association of BC, with the funds going towards a Sexual Assault Response Services Program over the next three years. These funds will build on the longstanding work already carried out by the ONA’s […]

Syilx Okanagan Nation Stands in Solidarity with the Mi’kmaq Nation and the Sipekne’katik First Nation in Protecting and Exercising Their Fishing and Governance Rights

October 19th, 2020

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Okanagan Territory: The Chiefs of the Syilx Okanagan Nation have watched with distress as Mi’kmaq fishers, including members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation, have been subjected to violence, intimidation, terror and racism as they seek to exercise their inherent, human and constitutionally protected rights, including treaty rights. Canadians pride themselves on living […]

Community Notice – kł cp̓əlk̓ stim̓ Initiative Broodstock Update

October 6th, 2020

If you had been down to q̓awsitkw (Okanagan River) you may have noticed many of the waters red with sockeye salmon. These salmon are part of the Okanagan Nation Alliance’s (ONA) Sockeye restoration efforts — reintroducing sc’win (Okanagan sockeye) back to their historic range — including to t’iwcən (Skaha) Lake and kłusənitkw (Okanagan) Lake.  These […]

Media Release: On the Way to Transforming Primary Care

September 25th, 2020

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory: The Syilx Okanagan Nation Chief’s Executive Council is pleased to support the recent implementation of Primary Care Networks (PCNs) on Syilx territory, in collaboration and partnership with Syilx communities.  Kootenay Boundary and Central Okanagan PCNs have already been announced, adding to the previously implemented South Okanagan PCN partnership with Penticton Indian […]

Media Release: `A Way to Cope: Exploring Non-Suicidal Self-Injury in B.C. Youth’

September 18th, 2020

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory: The Syilx Okanagan Nation Chief’s Executive Council acknowledge A Way to Cope: Exploring Non-Suicidal Self-Injury in BC Youth released today by BC’s Representative for Children and Youth (RCY). The RCY had identified non-suicidal self-injury as a trend requiring closer examination. This report hits home highlighting many long standing, critical issues and […]

Supporting CCT Donations Drive

September 14th, 2020

In response to the ongoing fires on the Colville Reservation, the ONA is collecting donations to support the families affected. These donations will be delivered to them next week. Any contributions are greatly appreciated. Drop Off Date, Time and Locations: Westbank – Sept 14-16, 2020 8:30am – 4:30pm at ONA main office Oliver: Sept 15, […]

CALL FOR ARTISTS: LOGO DESIGN

August 11th, 2020

Bringing The Salmon Home: The Columbia River Salmon Reintroduction Initiative of the Syilx Okanagan Nation, Ktunaxa Nation, Secwepemc Nation, Government of Canada, Government of British Columbia Deadline for response September 9, 2020 Guidelines: Syilx Ktunaxa Secwepemc Nations Artists Call – Bringing the Salmon Home logo  

Congratulations qʷyqʷʕayáx̌n: stim aʔ ckistxʷ What do You do?

August 10th, 2020

The Okanagan Nation Alliance would like to congratulate qʷyqʷʕayáx̌n Levi Bent on his new book “stim aʔ ckistxʷ what do you do?” If you wish to purchase a copy and support qʷyqʷʕayáx̌n Levi, email nxastatkw Elizabeth Bent at: nxastatkw@gmail.com ” I have been involved in learning and teaching nsyilxcen for over 10 years and am […]

Update: Access to sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ (OK Falls) fishery

August 6th, 2020

August 4, 2020 In his new role as Syilx Okanagan Nation Tribal Chair, Chief Clarence Louie and his team met with the Assistant Deputy Minister of the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development yesterday afternoon to discuss the access issues at the sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ (OK Falls) fishery. BC expressed its willingness to […]

2020 Recipients of the Building a Better Future Bursary

July 30th, 2020

Each year the Okanagan Nation Alliance and Fortis BC provide two awards of $1200.00 to financially support eligible Syilx/ Okanagan Nation members enrolled or accepted into a recognized university or college on a full-time basis in a minimum 2 year program. Additionally we have received donations from  Hi-Trax, Lance McLean (PIB) and Progressive Fence, thus […]

OKANAGAN NATION ALLIANCE ELECTS KI’LOWNA CHIEF CLARENCE LOUIE AS TRIBAL CHAIR

July 28th, 2020

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Okanagan Territory: The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) is pleased to announce that Chief Clarence Louie of Osoyoos Indian Band has been elected by the ONA Chiefs Executive Committee as Tribal Chair and spokesperson of the ONA. Chief Louie is the longest standing Chief within the Nation and will no doubt provide strong […]